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Matt's Blog - April (wk 4) 2011

The statue of Music Boy at Cheveley Park
The statue of Music Boy at Cheveley Park

Matt's Final Blog from Cheveley Park

One week to go here at Cheveley Park Stud. It feels like only a week ago I was leaving New Zealand full of excitement and ready to increase my knowledge into managing a successful stud farm, and over my time here Chris Richardson has made that happen. They say you learn something new every day. At Cheveley Park I have at least learnt ten things per day.

The last few weeks have been very busy as all the flat racing is well and truly underway. I was counting down the days until the first Newmarket race meeting came around. It was most definitely worth the wait.

The Craven race meeting on the famous Rowley Mile racecourse did not disappoint. A great turn out of people really set the mood for the two day meeting. With me there suit neatly fitted, plenty of money for the bookies and my race book to study the form I couldn't be happier.

It was very special for me standing in front of the Millennium Stadium knowing what horses have raced and won here at this breath taking course and know that in two weeks I will be a part of it. Watching the 2000 Guineas reveal a future stallion prospect that could end up on the beautiful pasture in New Zealand.

I felt well prepared entering the racecourse, as a week previous to the race meeting, myself, fellow work colleagues and racing enthusiasts walked the Rowley Mile from the finishing post to the fifth furlong admiring the legendary 'dip' a furlong out from the finish.

I was very excited for one particular day of the Craven meeting to see Cheveley Park bred filly, To The Spring (Medicean – Humouresque) trained by William Haggas and ridden by Kieran Fallon. This was her first start in the Rossdales Maiden Fillies Stakes. She jumped extremely well sitting fourth the whole way and showed she was too good a horse to be bothered by the 'dip' and ran on strongly for a comfortable third, everyone including me was ecstatic with her run and has high hopes for the young filly. Yes I had a comfortable each way bet on her which paid for my day out.

As the Craven race meeting is a lead up to the Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale I was very interested to learn more about Tattersalls history and how the sales complex is different to the superb Karaka sales back home.

I was fortunate enough to meet with Marketing Manager of Tattersalls Jason Singh, a contact kindly provided by Michael Martin. I met Jason over lunch and with my ambition to get into thoroughbred management I was prepared with a list of questions to fire at him and soak up his some fifteen years of experience working for Tattersalls. Since coming from Australia Jason and I had an interseting discussion about the differences in the way that the Northern and Southern Hemisphere compare in the style of racing and how the studs and stables are run taking in consideration of the variation of weather conditions.

I was very eager to have a look around and take notes on Tattersalls. Jason gave me a first class tour of the prominent and historical complex. My first glimpse of the complex had me speechless it is an amazing looking place with a lot of history behind. With around 1000 good quality sized stables Tattersalls is enormous but being on undulating land makes a bit of a task for the vendors to properly show off their horses, Jason gets a few complaints every year.

Tattersalls is well equipped with vet rooms and x-ray theatres, good sufficient parking and beautiful restaurants and bars well equipped with ample amounts of television sets with all the racing channels and live sales updates.

With Jason's great knowledge about the history of Tattersalls, I was very eager to learn more about how the complex came to be. Tattersalls was founded in 1976 by Richard Tattersall, which makes Tattersalls the oldest blood-stock auctioneers in the world. As the largest bloodstock sales firm in Europe, Tattersalls offers around 10,000 quality thoroughbreds each year at fifteen sales at either the Newmarket headquarters in England or Fairyhouse in Ireland.

I can't thank Dale and Andrew enough for being so flexible with times for me to attend such events as race meetings and sales with their usual replies "Rite O then, no worries". I have been able to see and do a lot here. One of those things being one of my favourite so far was the Craven Breeze Up Sales.
The famous Cheveley Park Stud Racing colours
The famous Cheveley Park Stud Racing colours

It all started at the Rowley Mile on a crisp Tuesday morning at 9.00am. With a catalogue of 192 lots of a fine selection of 2 year old colts and fillies, galloped an intense two furlongs to try and impress the wide range of potential buyers lined up alongside the rails.

I was lucky enough to have another brilliant contact provided to me by Rick Williams. A very well known bloodstock agent for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Larry Stratton. Larry introduced me to his two work colleagues that also purchase for the HKJC, Mark Richards (based in Hong Kong) and Nick Littmoden (Newmarket England). All four of us watched every lot that ran one by one up the gallops carefully studying the young thoroughbred's action and speed to find the perfect candidate for the Hong Kong racing climate. As the last horse sprinted past the finishing post at 12.30pm we were all ready for a bite to eat and compare our notes to make a short list for viewing in the afternoon. Once our stomachs were fully satisfied, courtesy of one of Tattersalls lovely restaurants we were ready to set off and inspect our short list of thirty one colts that fit the criteria, speed, proven sires, black type page and more speed. The guys were very happy to go with one exceptional colt by Oasis Dream out of a Last Tycoon mare for 130,000 guineas. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the HKJC guys as they taught me a lot on what to look for in a ready to runner and was more than happy to do so I am very grateful they took the time out of their busy days for me to learn off them.

The Sunline Scholarship allows me to focus on points in the thoroughbred industry where I look to excel in and gain more experience and knowledge in particular areas, and one of the areas I looked to focus on was foaling and young foal care.

I have foaled several of Cheveley Parks A class mares over the time I have been situated here and it has been greatly rewarding. Being involved in the entirety of the process from sitting up through the night waiting for the signs of the mare about to foal such as, restlessness, sweating, generally uncomfortable, box walking and the list goes on. To assisting the mare in foaling side by side with the Stud Groom (Dale Clements or Noel Cullen) feeling the adrenaline running through my body as we help the mare get the future champion out safe into the world.

Watching them grow is great knowing all the time and effort we put into these amazing animals all pays off. It is a very relaxed atmosphere whilst foaling with a couple jokes and a bit of banter comparing the Northern Hemisphere thoroughbreds to the fantastic conformation and bone we have in New Zealand.
A couple mares I have foaled are:
• Chestnut colt by Pivotal x Graduation (GB), Graduation is a winner at three years and Listed placed. Grand dam Blessed Event a Listed winner at three years and Group 1 placed is the dam of seven individual winners. Graduation will be visiting Duke of Marmalade this season.
• Bay filly by Pivotal x Miswaki Belle (USA), dam of five winners including Group 2 and multiple Group 3 and Listed winning mare Danehurst (Danehill) and Humouresque (Pivotal) Group 3 and two time Listed winner. Both Danehurst and Humouresque were retained and now are in the broodmare paddock. Miswaki Belle is in foal to Pivotal.


The final part of this blog I would like to dedicate to the boys (stallions) of Cheveley Park Stud. As I have been lucky enough to spend some time with John Rice (Stallion Manager) and the stallion boys on occasions in the evenings and days they need a good Kiwi bloke to give them a hand. I have been introduced to the exceptional Stallions that Cheveley Park Stud has to offer. Whilst being in the shed I have held mares and done all the jobs for preparation of the stallion to cover, breeding boots on the mare, twitch the mare and all other aspects. Statue of Music Boy

One lucky day for me I was holding a walk-in from Darley, a lovely old hairy mare named Zomaradah for Pivotal. I was very interested in her being from Darley she must have an impressive pedigree, and that she did. The Darley stud hand mentioned that she is the dam of Dubawi who stands for 55,000 pounds (By Dubai Millennium). I was silenced, I couldn't believe that here I was holding one of the most important mares from Darley. That really says how popular Pivotal is throughout Europe if Sheikh Mohammed sends the best of the best to Cheveley's great sire.

The stallion yard is very well run in all aspects, from walk-in mares and resident mares to be covered to the stallion's daily exercise. The area is always spotless with no risk of infection or disease to be carried into the area. It is a very relaxed atmosphere working in the shed, we all joke and laugh together much like all other divisions of Cheveley Park and the job always is complete to the highest standard of workmanship. By the way they possibly have the best bred teaser in the world, the full brother to Entrepreneur. It has been an absolute pleasure working with the stallion team.
My comments on the stallion's:
• Pivotal- Where do I begin, at 55,000 pounds he is an absolute bargain, big at 16.2 hands high he is sheer muscle and power with a lovely temperament to go with it. He has a good over reach in his walk and really strides out with determination. Sire of 90 individual Black Type winners - where can you go wrong? He ticks all my boxes.
• Medicean- For a fee of 12,000 pounds Medicean is value for money. Sire of six individual Group 1 winners and 95 winners he is a well spoken name within thoroughbred industry. Standing at 16.1 hands high he has plenty of scope about him and good conformation which he most definitely passes on to his progeny.
• Kyllachy- By the great sire Pivotal, Kyllachy's progeny have hit the racecourse in full force being made Champion British-based first and second crop sire and sire of 101 winners in 2010. 8000 pounds for this muscular sprinter is value. He is the start of something special.
• Dutch Art- For a small fee of just 5000 pounds, Dutch Art is by Cheveley's own Medicean. Dutch Art is a typical sprinter type, smaller then his sire at over 15 hands high but with a great shoulder and hind quarters to follow he is pure muscle. Great conformation and scope makes him a very appealing sire. Dutch Art's first 2 year olds are running this year and they have followed in their sires footsteps. With six runners for two great wins and three placed, he will be a sire to watch for the future.
• Virtual- A Group 1 winner by champion sire Pivotal. Big at 16.2 hands high Virtual is a stunning thoroughbred, with great bone and forearm and much like his father a lovely walker he is value at 4000 pounds. His first foals are this year and by personal hands on experience with them, they shall not disappoint.


As this is my final blog from the wonderful Cheveley Park Stud, I would like thank with all my heart Chris Richardson, all the management and all the staff for being so welcoming and answering my never ending questions. It has been an absolute pleasure to work on such a magnificently run Stud farm not to mention one of the best in Europe. I look forward to meeting again in the near future.
CPS racing colours
The next time I will be writing my blog will be in beautiful Ireland situated at Coolmore Stud, where I will fill you all in on my last week in England and yes of course The Guineas race meeting where I will be flying the New Zealand flag high.

Have a happy Easter and take care everyone,

Matt